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3 Ways to Turn the Negative Employer Review Ship Around

30 May 2017
By Shelly Ingram

The internet has brought about some amazing opportunities for businesses. On the product and service side, there are a million ways to make your offering more robust, as well as a million ways to be in constant contact with your user. Review sites with feedback functionality have now become standard practice in many online sites and forums, including Amazon and Google.

Whether the feedback surrounds product, service or establishment, people are paying attention. Those people are looking to your reviews for more than purchasing decisions. In fact, many job aggregate sites provide employees the ability review companies alongside job postings. And professionals are looking to those reviews before making a career change.

Tweet This: How to turn negative employer reviews around for the better:

Sometimes the talk around employers isn’t all that complimentary. Dealing with negative employee reviews can be a hit to the ego, but more importantly, the next steps your company takes can make all the difference in securing a positive employer brand in the eyes of talent. The following 3 tips will turn negative employee reviews into positive employer experiences. And keep your reputation in tact!

If you have yet to receive a negative review, keep this advice near. Even award-winning employers fall down sometimes. Are you prepared?

Are you ready for post-college recruiting season? Prepare with this checklist:


Take All Reviews Seriously… and Respond

When you catch wind of a negative employee review, do not immediately discredit it. Even if it is one criticism among hundreds of compliments, it holds value. Some researchers suggest that for every complaint, 26 additional customers were unsatisfied with the same problem, but remained silent. Before reacting, take time to understand what it is that the reviewer mentioned as an issue and how you might be able to approach a solution to the problem.

“By responding, you are showing that you are interested in feedback that has been left and that you take the reviews seriously. When responding you want to be methodical and not just do it on a whim…” -Laura Lake (@laura_lake), Marketing Manager

Sometimes you might have to discuss the problem with your team or managers. Sometimes you can see the issue yourself after a bit of reflection or more time working among your employees. There’s also nothing wrong with organizing an anonymous employee survey to capture more insight. Whatever you do, be sure you’re taking action upon reading a review. The hope is that you can quickly understand the root of the problem and respond to the review with a genuine apology and solution.

Tweet This: Your first step in responding to negative employer reviews: DON'T discredit them. Read more:

Above all, be sure you respond to the review. At the very least, assure the employee/ex-employee reviewer that their complaint is being looked into and taken seriously. If you encounter a “troll” simply disengage after the first response if they are not willing to be appeased.

Remain Positive in Your Response

Yes, responding is so important that it bears repeating. If you do not respond or choose to in a private manner, you lose the opportunity to express to visitors just how much you value criticism and the happiness of your workforce.

In all ways, remain positive. That includes both in life and in your crafted response to the reviewer. It’s never fun to hear a critical view of something you care so deeply about, but remember that a company is more than you. It’s your clients, employees, investors and anyone else who has a stake in successes - and they are all watching how you respond. That’s a lot of pressure, so a complaint can be all it takes to push your calm and collected demeanor over the edge. When a bad review comes rolling in, do not panic or act in haste. Before being among your employees, take a moment to yourself and consider what there is to be learned from the feedback.

If you call a meeting with your employees or managers, try not to be accusatory or belittle their thoughts. These individuals might share the feelings of your employee reviewer and the way you approach them could influence morale and how willing they are to offer solutions (and future positive reviews of their own). And again, when responding to the review, be upbeat.

Tweet This: Should you respond to negative employer reviews in public or private? Read this: 

Thank the individual for their input and explain how the company plans to improve because of it. If you want to take the conversation offline, feel free to provide a way to contact you, but make sure the first response is public.

Create a Strategic Game Plan

This is probably one of the most intense steps, but it is so important to the future of your employer branding and reputation maintenance. Whether you’ve received a few negative reviews or have yet to experience the challenge, being proactive in assessing your online reputation will only bring reward.

· Actively manage reviews by establishing Google Alerts that notify you when your company is mentioned on the web.

· Also try to claim your company profile on review sites like Glassdoor, so that you will receive updates as soon as reviews are left.

· Pay attention to Google reviews, Facebook, and if you are a consumer-focused company, try focusing on Yelp as well.

· Be proactive in asking for positive reviews in these areas, particularly from hiring managers, who will understand the importance of great reviews.

Of course, managing your reputation and employer brand should actually begin right within the walls of your office. Work on making your company’s culture employee-focused by conducting annual employee satisfaction surveys and taking the results to heart. Solicit feedback and discuss career trajectory and goals in employee performance reviews or regularly in meetings. Additionally, discuss the candidate experience with new hires to see how your process is being perceived by new talent. The more you work on this, the more organic and genuine your culture will be on and off the web. People will rarely review your company unless they’ve had a terrible experience or they’re already gone. So request reviews and feedback before a shift occurs. But ask, do NOT force. There is a middle ground.

As HR expert, Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) reminds:

“You can bully your current employees into writing positive reviews and you can threaten and sue to try to get things taken [off] the internet, but that will increase your bad press and won't solve your underlying problem.”

A negative review isn’t the curse many believe it to be. Initially, the criticism can sting, but the feedback can open your eyes to real problems your workforce is facing. WCN’s recruiting software helps organizations prioritize their recruiting process by streamlining the entire hiring process from sourcing to soliciting feedback from candidates and new employees. Ensure a transparent hiring and interviewing process that leaves all candidates feeling valued with WCN. Learn more about how WCN can help you.

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